Are you normally full of joy and Christmas cheer and anticipation of the new year, but not this year? Has the sadness of recent tragic events overwhelmed you? Financial worries, crowds at the mall, parking lot show-downs, to-do lists, and all the other practicalities of life weighing you down? Do you wake up feeling anything but happiness because of a heavy heart?

Too often we have expectations that somehow our lives, our holidays, will have the perfect holiday endings just like the movies. Most of us don’t have that kind of life.
I know I don’t. For my family the past year has been a lot more downs than ups. And I am well aware that there are many others in the world who have suffered much more than we have. It would be easy to become overwhelmed by the tragedies, the problems of the past, and fears for the future.

Instead of allowing myself to focus on all the bad stuff, I remind myself that I have a choice. Most of us have a choice. We can choose to continue to look at the negatives or turn things around. Opening our hearts see things in a different light isn’t easy, but it can make a world of difference.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school oreagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can appreciate that I have a place to call home.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day I will have! — author unknown.

If you are struggling with emotions, hardships, loss. Those are heart-wrenchingly difficult things to have to try to deal with, especially when every television show and commercial and decorated street and shopping mall is telling you, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Those of you who are struggling with losses and hardships, my heart goes out to you, and if you cannot choose happiness today, it’s okay. May God grant you a tomorrow when you can choose happiness.

Neither life, nor Christmas, will ever be as perfect as it is presented in the movies. And try as you might, you cannot force anyone else to feel, or act, the way you wish they would. So, for today, make a choice to take charge of your feelings, of the way you view the world.

Today, I chose to be inspired by this song and the awesome A Capella singing group, Eclipse. Today I choose happiness and gratitude.

You, my readers, have given me gifts all year: gifts of your time, comments, support and encouragement. I am so very grateful for you. Thank you. And to you I send my warmest wishes for Peace and Happiness at Christmas and for the coming year.

It’s Christmas Eve! Please take a moment and share how you’ve chosen to “Wake up the Happiness!”